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Please note that Mommsen uses the AUC chronology (Ab Urbe Condita), i.e. from the founding of the City of Rome. You can use this reference table to have the B.C. dates


IV. The Revolution

From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson

The History of Old Rome


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Page 27

Insignia of the Equites

That the external privileges, through which afterwards the men of equestrian census were distinguished from the rest of the multitude-- the golden finger-ring instead of the ordinary ring of iron or copper, and the separate and better place at the burgess-festivals--were first conferred on the equites by Gaius Gracchus, is not certain, but is not improbable. For they emerged at any rate about this period, and, as the extension of these hitherto mainly senatorial privileges(19) to the equestrian order which he brought into prominence was quite in the style of Gracchus, so it was in very truth his aim to impress on the equites the stamp of an order, similarly close and privileged, intermediate between the senatorial aristocracy and the common multitude; and this same aim was more promoted by those class-insignia, trifling though they were in themselves and though many qualified to be equites might not avail themselves of them, than by many an ordinance far more intrinsically important.

19. Cf. III. XI. Patricio-Plebeian Nobility, III. XI. Family Government

But the party of material interests, though it by no means despised such honours, was yet not to be gained through these alone. Gracchus perceived well that it would doubtless duly fall to the highest bidder, but that it needed a high and substantial bidding; and so he offered to it the revenues of Asia and the jury courts.

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